The Cell (2000)

(In theaters, August 2000) I can usually forgive a lot of silly stuff if the offending film is willing to push the envelope of cinematic audacity. Certainly, the trailers to The Cell will try to tell you that you’re about to see An Event, a film which will show you things you’ve never seen before. While it is not deceptive advertising, it is at least far too enthusiastic; one of the mixed reactions I had at the end of the film has that despite the pretty pictures, The Cell wasn’t nearly as innovative, nor as strange as it wanted to become. But that’s not the most offensive thing about the film: That would be the simplistic script used to string along these pictures. Consider: Serial killer is apprehended but fails to reveal location of latest victim, police investigator interrogates killer and gets crucial clue, policeman frees victim before she dies, the end. Nowhere in this plot summary is any mention of the character played by the nominal “star” of the film, Jennifer Lopez. That’s because she may be incredibly hot, but her character does absolutely nothing to solve the case, save get captured and require rescue by the policeman. Ouch! Fortunately, there are still a few pretty pictures to look at thanks to director Tarsem Singh’s passion for visuals. But they’re not enough.

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